• As part of Team Europe support, the project will ensure continuous access to drinking water to over 800,000 people in the Municipality of Tirana and help improve the appearance and functionality of the capital
  • This is the largest EIB project signed to date with the Government of Albania and the 2nd EIB project for Tirana
  • New loan facilitated thanks to the European Union’s guarantee will help Albania build modern water supply system and increase economic resilience to climate change

The European Investment Bank (EIB), bank of the European Union, will invest €80 million to improve water distribution system in the Municipality of Tirana, enabling continuous availability of drinking water for over 800,000 people and reduction of water losses. Provided under Team Europe’s support, this investment will modernize water management efficiency, improve water supply security and contribute to better health and environmental conditions in the capital, which is to increase resilience to climate changes and promote economic growth.

The project will modernise the existing distribution network and provide continuous, reliable, long-term water supply service in the city, with the Guri I Bardhe transmission line and the Tirana high-pressure water supply ring. It will also improve quality of the drinking water by eliminating the system of small personal reservoirs built on the roofs, which have high risk of water contamination. The investment comes under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative, aiming to mobilise finance to support growth, job creation, vital infrastructure projects and social cohesion in the EU’s neighbouring regions.  

EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, responsible for the Western Balkans, said: “Today, we are making an important step towards better living conditions for people of Tirana. We are glad to invest in safer and healthier future of Albania, at the same time contributing to faster recovery from devastating earthquake from 2019 and subsequent COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud of existing partnership with the Government of Albania and the City of Tirana, which allowed us to address challenges arising from fast-growing urbanisation and insufficient water distribution system. This project will enable security of water supply for all and bring the country closer to its environmental, urban development and climate action goals. Together with the Team Europe, we are ready to continue supporting faster social and economic development of Albania and look forward to developing new projects for the country.”

Ambassador Luigi Soreca, Head of EU Delegation to Albania, stated: “This new investment project is a major EU contribution to Albania’s efforts to improve the performance of its water services as well as to ensure continuous and safe water supply to Tirana’s inhabitants. Europe is here to assist Albanians for an improved quality of life, stronger public health and reduced energy costs as Tirana becomes more resilient and adapts to climate change. We are happy to be able to help Albania align progressively with EU standards.” 

Deputy Prime Minister Arben Ahmetaj said: “This is a larger agreement of €144.5 million that guarantees on the one hand the modernisatuon of water supply infrastructure and on the other hand, uninterrupted 24-hour water supply for almost 1 million inhabitants of the city of Tirana. Over the last two years together with the EIB and the Municipality of Tirana we have undertaken a careful and detailed work to reach the finalisation of the project. I am happy that this project goes to one of the priority sectors of the Albanian Government, as part of a comprehensive reform and of our ambition to increase the quality of life of citizens, in this case by providing 24 hours of drinking water.”

Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj said: “We are like night and day in comparison to what we found previously: the water supply network resembled a colander, where water was regularly stolen, cars were washed with drinking water, and maize was watered with drinking water. Initially we had to recover the losses, have a more efficient enterprise, so that it would no longer be a militant parking lot, but an enterprise with a mission to serve. Now I can proudly say that the enterprise not only has the best performance in Albania, but today, it is an enterprise that has managed to pay back its loans itself, and now has more sound finances. However, we are still far from our ambition for Tirana to have water 24 hours a day, but this is our plan for 2024. Today, we have signed the largest loan in the history of Tirana’s water supply as a way to put our investment calendar in fifth gear. In the next 2-3 years, we anticipate opening a construction site to lay 45km of pipelines in Tirana, as well as providing a high-pressure supply ring, which will give us the opportunity to supply all units with the same amount of water, even the neighbourhoods of Tirana furthest away, especially the newer neighbourhoods and special areas such as “Astir”, “Fresku” and “Liqeni i Thatë”.

The bank has already worked with the Municipality of Tirana on its first urban redevelopment project in Albania for Lana riverfront in 2019, that help reduce the pollution in the Lana River and reorganise streets and urban space near both banks.

Background information

About the EIB in the Balkans

The EIB is a leading international financier in the Western Balkans. Since 2009, the Bank has financed projects totalling almost €10 billion in the region. Besides continuing its support for the reconstruction and upgrading of public infrastructure, since 2010 the EIB has expanded into many new areas, such as healthcare, research and development, education and SMEs.

About the EIB in Albania:

The EIB has been active in Albania since 1995. To date, 25 projects have been financed and over €500 million mostly invested in supporting key transport, energy, water and waste water infrastructure. 

About Economic Resilience Initiative

The Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) was created in 2016 in response to a call from the European Council. The objective of the initiative is to help shift patterns of migration in the medium to long term and provide support to forcibly displaced populations by increasing the resilience of economies to future shocks. The ERI is doing this by mobilising finance to support growth, job creation, vital infrastructure projects and social cohesion in the EU’s neighbouring regions. 

About Team Europe and the COVID-19 response in the Western Balkans

As part of the #TeamEurope strategy, the EU's global response to COVID-19, the EIB Group has rapidly mobilised €5.2 billion outside the EU, accelerating financing and targeted technical assistance. For the Western Balkan countries specifically, the EIB has prepared an immediate support package of €1.7 billion primarily for the SME and healthcare sectors (https://www.eib.org/en/press/all/2020-111-eib-group-to-contribute-eur1-7-billion-to-the-eu-s-covid-19-response-package-for-the-western-balkans). The total EU financial support package for the Western Balkans amounts to more than €3.3 billion.